City of Oakland Landmarks Advisory Board testimony on owner-initiated application to landmark 1972-1966 San Pablo Ave, June 13, 2005
On June 13, 2005, the City of Oakland's Landmarks Preservation Advisory Board considered the owner-initiated application to landmark the building that from 1906 to 1923 housed Hing Chong & Co., a merchant tailoring businesses at 20th St and San Pablo Ave. The two connected wooden buildings, at 1972-1966 San Pablo Ave, were constructed in 1883 and 1902. Additionally, they marked the site of one of Oakland's earliest "official" Chinatowns, which federal census records confirm had been established by 1870. These early Chinese Oaklanders were cleared from the area during a redevelopment push that followed the construction of a new City Hall at the foot of San Pablo Ave.
Oakland Heritage Alliance, the Chinese Historical Society of America, and UptownChinatown.org were among the organizations supporting the owner's application to landmark the buildings.
The Vice President of Forest City Residential West emphasized a need to clear the area to make way for the Uptown Project, a heavily City-subsidized venture Oakland Mayor Jerry Brown called a cornerstone of his 10k Project. (Market-rate housing to draw in 10,000 new residents was to create economic prosperity for Oaklanders.)
The owner-initiated application was turned down. In August 2005, the more than one-hundred-year-old buildings were offered for sale by the City of Oakland for $1.